Best Psychological Fiction Subgenres: Types to Thrill You

Posted on Jul 31, 2023

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Written by P.J McNulty

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Are you interested in psychological fiction that engages the mind as well as your sense of fear and tension?

We’ve gathered together a comprehensive list of psychological fiction subgenres.

Read on to discover your new favorite subgenre and open yourself to a world of thrilling new books.

This guide to psychological fiction subgenres covers:

1 – Psychological Thriller: These novels incorporate suspense, tension, and excitement, primarily focusing on the mental states of its characters.

2 – Psychological Horror: This subgenre uses the characters’ fears, guilt, and emotional instability to build tension and frighten the reader.

3 – Psychological Drama: This subgenre focuses on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes.

4 – Psychological Crime: These stories revolve around a crime that is often solved through the psychological insight of the protagonist.

5 – Psychological Mystery: In these novels, the suspense is built through the mental, emotional and psychological unraveling of the mystery.

6 – Psychological Romance: A psychological romance novel centers around romantic relationships, with a heavy emphasis on mental and emotional aspects.

7 – Psychological Suspense: In this subgenre, the tension is created through the psychological challenges or dilemmas facing the characters.

8 – Psychological Fantasy: These are fantasy novels that focus on the psychological journey of the characters, often featuring their mental struggles.

9 – Psychological Science Fiction: These novels incorporate science fiction elements, primarily focusing on the psychological journey of the characters.

10 – Psychological Realism: In this subgenre, the narrative is driven by the in-depth portrayal of characters’ psychological states, creating a realistic picture of life.

11 – Psychological Surrealism: These novels blend psychological themes with surreal elements to explore the human psyche.

12 – Psychological Gothic: This subgenre combines the mystery and supernatural elements of Gothic fiction with a focus on the psychology of the characters.

13 – Psychological Noir: Here, the bleak and pessimistic elements of noir are combined with a focus on the characters’ psychological states.

14 – Psychological Historical: These novels are set in the past, focusing on the psychological struggles of the characters against a historical backdrop.

15 – Psychological Bildungsroman: The bildungsroman subgenre features the psychological growth and personal development of the protagonist from youth to adulthood.


So there you have it – fifteen types of psychological fiction for you to explore and enjoy.

If you read through some of the top books in the above subgenres, you are sure to find at least a few you love.

Good luck, and enjoy your next thrilling psychological book!

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